Investigators blame surge protector for house fire
Investigators with the Porterville Fire Department say that a fire that displaced a Porterville couple from their home Thursday morning was caused by an electrical glitch in a surge protector.
The fire broke out around 9 a.m. at the two-story home located in the 400 block of West Belleview Avenue in Porterville. According to Investigator Mitch Sandoval, the fire started in the exterior of the house, near an outdoor refrigerator.
“The fire spread onto the exterior wall and got into an exhaust vent and that’s how it made its way into the house and from there, it spread,” Sandoval said Friday.
He said four investigators, including one with the Tulare County Fire Department and another with CalFire, all determined that the multi-plug surge protector faulted and caused the fire.
Dollar loss is estimated at $215,000, including $175,000 in property value and $40,000 in contents, Sandoval said.
The homeowners also lost their poodle in the blaze, Sandoval said.
No one was home when the fire began. Witnesses reported having observed three persons render aid when it broke out.
“Some initial witnesses to the fire said some neighbors in the area noticed smoke and realized there was a house fire and tried to notify them and even tried to help put the fire out,” Sandoval said. “They were a big help in our final determination of what we call area of origin — in finding the cause of the fire. Those are good citizens getting involved.”